Elizabeth May

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This article is about the leader of the Green Party of Canada. For the Luxembourgian triathlete, see Elizabeth May (triathlete).
Elizabeth May
Elizabeth May 2.jpg
Elizabeth May in September 2009
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Saanich—Gulf Islands
Assumed office
May 30, 2011
Preceded by Gary Lunn
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Assumed office
August 26, 2006
Preceded by Jim Harris
Personal details
Born Elizabeth Evans May
(1954-06-09) June 9, 1954 (age 60)
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Political party Green Party of Canada
Other political
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada[1]
Liberal Party of Canada[2]
Residence Sidney, British Columbia
Alma mater Dalhousie Law School (1983)
Occupation Politician, lawyer, writer, activist
Religion Anglican

Elizabeth Evans May OC MP (born June 9, 1954) is an American-born Canadian environmentalist, writer, activist, lawyer, and politician currently serving as leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich—Gulf Islands. She was the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada from 1989 to 2006. She became a Canadian citizen in 1978,[3] and stated in a letter to the editor published in The Globe and Mail in February 2014 that she did not retain her US citizenship.[4]

May's permanent residence is in Sidney, British Columbia.[5] Her family home is in Margaree Harbour, Cape Breton Island.[6] On May 2, 2011, she became the first elected Green Party Member of Parliament in Canada, defeating the incumbent Conservative Member of Parliament and cabinet minister, Gary Lunn.[7][8]

Early life and family[edit]

May was born in Hartford, Connecticut,[9][10] the daughter of Stephanie (née Middleton) and John Middleton May.[11] Her father was British and her mother was American. She has a younger brother named Geoffrey.[12][13] Her mother, who was on Nixon's Enemies List, was a prominent anti-nuclear activist and one of the original founders of the peace group SANE;[11] her father was Assistant Vice President of Aetna Life and Casualty.[13][14] May's godfather was actor Cliff Robertson.[15]

May attended Renbrook School and the prestigious Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. Her family was rooted in the Welsh Congregationalist tradition of free thinking on religious beliefs.[16]

The family moved to Margaree Harbour, Nova Scotia in 1972, following a summer vacation spent on Cape Breton Island. On moving to the province, the May family purchased and restored a land-locked schooner, the Marion Elizabeth, in which a restaurant and gift shop was housed. Although the business had been closed for several years before being purchased by the Mays, it became a popular spot along the Cabot Trail. Launched in 1918, and named after the wife and daughter of the ship's first captain, the Marion Elizabeth was the only authentic Bluenose fishing schooner, and was built by the Lunenburg, Nova Scotia firm Smith and Rhuland. Farley Mowat also gave the Mays his schooner, the Happy Adventure, which was featured in his book, The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float, and was displayed next to the gift shop.[17] The restaurant and gift shop operated from 1974 until 2002, when the property was expropriated for an expanded highway bridge carrying Route 19 across the Margaree River.[14]

Law school[edit]

Heavy financial losses in the early years of the family business made it impossible for May and her brother to go to university.[18] May briefly enrolled at St. Francis Xavier University in 1974, but had to leave when she didn’t have enough money for tuition. Returning to Margaree, she took correspondence courses in restaurant management. Beginning in 1980, she worked her way through Dalhousie Law School as a mature student, graduating with an LLB in 1983, with then Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, writing her a letter of reference.[19]

Early activism[edit]

In 1975, following the move to Margaree Harbour, May joined with other local residents in a grassroots effort to stop approved aerial insecticide spraying over the forests of Cape Breton Island. The group “Cape Breton Landowners Against the Spray” was the focus of May’s volunteer effort from 1975-79. Swedish multinational Stora owned the local pulp and paper mill and held licenses to harvest the forests of eastern Nova Scotia. Stora wanted the government to pay for spraying the now-banned, organophosphate insecticide fenitrothion to counter the epidemic of spruce budworm. Within months the provincial government agreed to cancel the permits due to health concerns. The budworm outbreak later collapsed of natural causes. The issue was the subject of May's first book, Budworm Battles,[20] as well as CBC program The Fifth Estate in a segment called “Miss May's War”, and a National Film Board documentary called Budworks. In 1979, at the age of 25, May appeared in an episode of the game show Mindreaders.[21]

Early political activity[edit]

In 1980, disillusioned with the federal election sparked by the loss of confidence vote on Prime Minister Joe Clark's budget, May launched a political party to raise environment and anti-nuclear issues. The party, dubbed "the Small Party" and based on the ideas in E.F. Schumacher's book, Small is Beautiful, ran 12 candidates in six provinces, in the 1980 federal election. They made no pretense of attempting to win seats, calling the effort a “beau geste” to raise awareness. May, at the time a 25-year-old waitress, ran against the former Deputy Prime Minister, Allan J. MacEachen in Cape Breton Highlands—Canso. She placed fourth in a field of four candidates receiving 272 votes.[22]

Early 1980s environmental activism[edit]

Between 1980 and 1982, May worked in the local movement opposing uranium mining. It succeeded when the provincial government announced a moratorium. She was also very active in the effort to stop approval of the Point Lepreau nuclear plant in New Brunswick.[23]

In 1982, the Nova Scotia government of Conservative Premier John Buchanan re-approved the spraying of forests with the herbicides 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Those same chemicals, in 50-50 combination, were known as Agent Orange and had been used as defoliants during the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War. All of the major pulp and paper companies in Nova Scotia received permits to spray the herbicides to kill hardwood trees and shrubs. May was between her second and third year of law school when the permits were granted, and began organizing to stop the spraying. The government announced it would convert the spray permits from aerial to ground spray. A total of 17 local residents went to court to stop the spraying. May's role was as both plaintiff and as volunteer lawyer. The plaintiffs received an interim injunction in August 1982 that prevented the spraying. Following the initial hearing, the case against Scott Paper was rejected. That initial decision resulted in a bill of costs against the plaintiffs for $15,000. May's mother sold 80 acres of family land to cover the costs to Scott Paper.[citation needed]

The budworm also infested the forests of New Brunswick. Due to May's efforts the forests of Cape Breton were not sprayed. In New Brunswick, by contrast, forests were sprayed. The forests in New Brunswick recovered from defoliation. The unsprayed trees in Cape Breton were decimated by the budworm.[24][25]

The trial of the 17 plaintiffs against Stora, reported as Vicky Palmer et al v. Stora Kopparberg, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Trial Division, was heard over the month of May 1983.[26] Mr. Justice Merlin Nunn ruled that the chemicals were not dangerous and had not caused health effects in Vietnam. By the time the judgment came down, the chemicals were no longer available for use in Canada. On behalf of the plaintiffs, May and Chief Ryan Googoo of the Mikmaq First Nation traveled to Sweden to raise funds and support for an appeal. The tour of Sweden gained support for the Nova Scotians opposed to Agent Orange, with Prime Minister Olof Palme endorsing their cause. While they were away, the pulp company pressured the other plaintiffs to drop the appeal and accept a settlement. In the settlement, Stora insisted that, while other plaintiffs and lawyers could be reimbursed for their costs, the May family would not. The herbicide case is documented in an National Film Board film called Herbicide Trials.[27]

Early legal career[edit]

May graduated in 1983 and, following law school, worked as an associate at the firm of Kitz, Matheson, Green and MacIsaac in Halifax (now Patterson Palmer). In 1985 she moved to Ottawa to accept the position of associate general counsel to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. During this time May helped found the Canadian Environmental Defence Fund with the aim of funding groups and individuals in environmental cases. She was admitted to the bar of Nova Scotia in 1984, and the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1989.

In 1986, May was recruited by the federal Minister of Environment, Tom McMillan to provide environmental policy advice. As senior policy advisor, May worked on many critical environmental issues. She was involved in the negotiation of agreements with the seven Eastern provinces and with the U.S. to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions in order to combat acid rain, writing new legislation, the creation of five new national parks, the negotiation of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, the clean-up of the Great Lakes, and the first agreement to clean up the Sydney Tar Ponds.

In June 1988, she discovered that the minister had broken the law approving permits for two dams in Saskatchewan (Rafferty and Alameda dams on the Souris River) without environmental review. She resigned on principle, but did not make her reasons for resignation public. In September, the Winnipeg Free Press broke the story of her resignation on the front page, unleashing a storm of anger from Manitoba residents, who were downstream from the Souris. The day after the story broke, the Manitoba Legislature held an emergency debate on the issue. The Canadian Wildlife Federation brought a lawsuit against the decision to grant permits without environmental review. The Federal Court of Canada ruled the permits had been granted illegally.[28]

May received praise from David Suzuki for her work on Quttinirpaaq National Park (known as Ellesmere National Park prior to February 19, 2001), Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site (previously the South Moresby National Park Reserve, it was renamed on February 28, 1996), Grasslands National Park and the ozone protocol files.[29] She resigned, in 1988, from her post after learning that the government's plan for Grasslands National Park meant granting permits for the Rafferty-Alameda Project[30] in Saskatchewan without performing environmental assessments in exchange for the parkland and the translation of Saskatchewan's statutes into French.[31]

Sierra Club of Canada Executive Director[edit]

In 1989, May became the founding Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada.[32] May sits on the boards of the International Institute of Sustainable Development[33] and Prevent Cancer Now![34] She is a former vice-chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

In 2001, May went on a 17-day hunger strike in front of Parliament Hill to demand the relocation of families at risk next to Canada’s largest toxic waste site, the Sydney tar ponds in Cape Breton. She had co-authored a book on the tar ponds with Maude Barlow. As a result, the federal government pledged to relocate people living nearby to a safer location.[35] After that, May was involved in lobbying Paul Martin, then Minister of Finance, that gross domestic product was not a viable measure of economic performance, a position Martin clearly advanced in public in Canada through 2003.[36]

When Martin became Prime Minister of Canada in late 2003, he was however circumspect on this point, and his replacement in Finance, Ralph Goodale, was concerned mostly to cut Canada's debt to GDP ratio. May rallied and repeated her conversion feat, and by February 2005 Goodale announced "the greenest budget ever", representing the Green Budget Coalition.

May is a supporter of Help Lesotho[37] and has experience in international lobbying. She said that the Montreal Action Plan (which came out of the 2005 UN Climate Change Conference[38]) was "a set of agreements that may well save the planet".[39] She counts Bill Clinton, who attended the Montreal Conference in 2005 at her request, among her contacts; Clinton became acquainted with May and her parents (then living in Connecticut) while a student at Yale University in the 1970s. In his conference speech Clinton thanked May for inviting him to Montreal. Clinton's presence was instrumental in getting the US to agree to talks on climate change for the first time.[citation needed]

May resigned as the Sierra Club's executive director in April 2006, intending to step down that June. As one of her last major acts in this post she participated in a poll of experts that determined that Brian Mulroney was Canada's "greenest" Prime Minister for an award presented by Corporate Knights magazine, due in part to his influence over the USA on acid rain. For her prominent role in this initiative, May took some criticism from leftist commentators and environmentalists. However, as Mulroney himself noted, she saw him as "the best of a bad bunch", and the timing of the event was calculated to pressure current Prime Minister Stephen Harper to improve his environmental policies in the spring 2006 federal budget. This was May's last public nonpartisan announcement.

Leader of Green Party of Canada[edit]

May with the fellow candidates at the June 21, 2006, leadership debate in Calgary.

On May 9, 2006, May entered the Green Party of Canada's leadership race.[40] She announced her intent to make the party "a force". She cited the "major planetary catastrophe" and "climate crisis" and the "crisis of democracy" as primary issues. "I find myself despairing when I see four men in suits engaging in a debate where nothing important is said… if the voters get to hear a whole bunch of really exciting new ideas, they might like them… instead of trying to do a calculation of who they hate the least".[41]

On August 26, 2006, May won the leadership election on the first ballot. She tallied 65.3% of the votes, beating her main rival, David Chernushenko (33.3%) and Jim Fannon (0.88%). She said one of the main platforms for the next election would be to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). She also said that she would insist on the party being represented on the televised debates.[42] At the time of her election as leader, May said she intended to run in the riding of Cape Breton-Canso in the next federal election, although she also said she would stand in a federal byelection if one occurred prior to the next general election.[43]

London North Centre by-election[edit]

Campaign signs in London, Ontario, November 25, 2006.

In the fall of 2006, London North Centre Member of Parliament Joe Fontana announced he was resigning his seat to run for Mayor of London, Ontario. Prime Minister Stephen Harper scheduled a by-election for that seat on November 27, 2006, and May stood as the candidate for the Green Party. She shocked some analysts[who?] when she finished second to Glen Pearson of the Liberal Party, ahead of the Conservative and New Democratic Party (NDP) candidates. At the time, May's showing in this by-election was the best result, in terms of percentage, ever achieved by the Green Party of Canada. She received 9,864 votes, about 26% of the total votes cast.[44] [45]

2008 federal election[edit]

May on March 17, 2007 after announcing her candidacy in Central Nova

On March 17, 2007, May announced that she would run in the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova, in the next federal election.[46] Central Nova is located on mainland Nova Scotia, rather than Cape Breton Island where May once lived. However, it is adjacent to the Cape Breton-Canso riding in which May previously expressed interest, and overlaps with the area covered by the former Cape Breton Highlands—Canso riding in which she ran in 1980[47] as founder of the "Small Party". The riding was held by Conservative National Defence Minister Peter MacKay. May has explained that she chose Central Nova to avoid running against a Liberal or NDP incumbent.[48] She acknowledged, however, that this would be a more difficult riding for her to win than others she had considered.[49] May received 32% of the vote in Central Nova in 2006 to MacKay's 47%.

On April 12, 2007, Liberal Party leader Stéphane Dion announced that the Liberals would not run a candidate in Central Nova in return for the Greens not running a candidate in Dion's safe Saint-Laurent—Cartierville riding.[50] May had attempted to talk to NDP leader Jack Layton about ways to cooperate to avoid Harper’s party forming government. Layton refused to meet and attacked May for agreeing to a “leader’s courtesy” agreement with Dion. When the May-Dion deal was announced, it was criticized by the Conservatives and NDP, with Layton describing it as "backroom dealing", while former NDP leader Ed Broadbent said that it deprived voters of choice.[51]

Disputes over leadership debates[edit]

May was initially excluded from the televised leadership debate in the 2008 federal election, based on the lack of any elected Green party MPs. She argued that the TV network consortium's initial exclusion of the Green Party of Canada was "anti-democratic" and blamed it on "the decision-making of a small group of TV network executives".[52] Prime Minister Harper, NDP leader Jack Layton, and Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, all initially opposed her inclusion, with Stephen Harper threatening to boycott the debates if May were allowed to participate, on the basis that her arrangement with the Liberal party in Central Nova meant she was not truly independent of them.[53] Because of this, former Editor-In-Chief of CBC TV News, Tony Burman, characterized the debate process as a sham, stating that, "Some networks worried that adding a fifth leader would make the debate 'unwatchable' but we all knew that the elephant in the room was actually living at 24 Sussex Drive. And he – the Prime Minister – would effectively have veto power. Within days of the [Media Consortium] meeting, we were privately told by the Conservative Party representative that Prime Minister Harper would not participate in the debates if the Green Party leader was there."[54]

Layton initially said that he was following the rules of the broadcast consortium, while NDP spokesman Brad Lavigne confirmed that Layton had refused to attend if May was present, noting that May had endorsed Liberal leader Stéphane Dion for prime minister, and arguing that her inclusion would in effect give the Liberals two representatives at the debate.[55] Rod Love, former chief of staff to Ralph Klein, has suggested that the Greens could potentially cut into the NDP's support.[56] Layton's stance drew criticism from the YWCA, Judy Rebick, and members of his own party.[57] Layton dropped his opposition to May's inclusion on September 10, 2008.[58][59] Many commentators proclaimed May’s debut in the leaders debates to be a major breakthrough for the party, and were surprised that she proved to be a strong debater on a wide range of issues.[60][61]

2008 election[edit]

May won 32% of the vote on election day, the highest percentage ever for a Green Party candidate in Canada.[62] Despite this, May did not win in Central Nova, losing to MacKay by a margin of 5,619 votes, and her party only received 6.8 percent of the popular vote. The party failed to elect a candidate and finished the election either $2 million[63] or $4 million[64] in debt. There was criticism from prominent Green Party members of May's failing to support all Green candidates unequivocally during the 2008 election, as she made favorable comments about Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and said that supporters in close ridings might consider voting strategically to attempt to defeat the Conservatives.[63] Despite this, both the New Democratic Party and the Green Party saw increases in their popular vote in the 2008 election.

Coalition government support[edit]

On December 2, 2008, Liberal leader Stéphane Dion spoke to May about Green Party support for a possible Liberal-NDP coalition government. However, the coalition ultimately fell apart. After Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote, Liberal leader Dion resigned and was replaced by Michael Ignatieff. When Parliament finally resumed in January, 2009, the Liberal Party decided to support the Conservative government's new proposed budget. While Parliament was prorogued, Harper also announced his intention to fill all current and upcoming Senate vacancies with Conservative appointees.

Speculation of a Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley by-election bid[edit]

May had indicated she would consider running in a by-election in the rural Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, which is adjacent to the Central Nova riding she had contested in the 2008 election. The Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley riding became vacant when incumbent independent MP Bill Casey resigned to accept a job as representative of the Nova Scotia provincial government in Ottawa.[65] Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on October 3, 2009 that these by-elections would be held on November 9, 2009.[66] After May made these comments, the Green Party selected Jason Blanch as the candidate for this riding. In the 2008 federal election, May endorsed Casey's independent campaign in Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley and the Green Party did not run a candidate.

2011 federal election and controversy[edit]

May ran as the Green Party candidate and won in the riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands, in British Columbia. She faced Conservative cabinet minister Gary Lunn, who had held the seat for the preceding 14 years.[67] May had considered the Ontario riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound where the Green Party received over 27% of the vote in 2008,[68] and the riding of Guelph, where the Greens received 21% of the vote.[69] This election has become marred in controversy following allegations of widespread voter fraud involving robocalls directed at Liberal, NDP and Green Party supporters to the benefit of the Conservative Party of Canada. May's home riding is said to have been influenced by such calls. Elections Canada and the RCMP are investigating.[70]

On August 30, 2012, May wrote to Queen Elizabeth II requesting a Royal Commission into the 2011 Canadian federal election voter suppression scandal.[71] On March 18, 2013, the Queen replied to May, referring her to the Governor General and the Privy Council.[72][73] It remains to be seen whether Governor General David Johnston will take the extraordinary step of taking the matter up with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during their weekly state meetings.[74][75]

Excluded from leaders' debates[edit]

On March 29, 2011 the broadcast consortium organizing the televised leaders' debate for the 2011 federal election announced that it would not invite May. May publicly condemned the decision as "anti-democratic in the extreme".[76][77][78][79]

May speaks at the Fair Vote Canada National Day of Action in Ottawa May 14, 2011.

Despite her exclusion from the major leader debates, she won her riding, defeating the incumbent Gary Lunn.[7] She was the only Green party candidate to be elected. May is the first elected Green Party MP in Canadian history.

Green Party Bi-Annual General Meeting[edit]

On August 11, 2010, 85% of the party’s members voted to support May as leader, and 74% of Green party members voted to hold a leadership review after the next election, rather than August 2010, which was when May's term as leader was set to end.[80]

911 Truth petition[edit]

In December 2014, May presented a petition by members of 911 Truth organizations asking on the government to review the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001. May stated that she does not agree with the petition's claims, adding that “It is an obligation of an MP to present every petition submitted to them.”[81][82] However, the House of Commons procedure and practice does not require petitions to be forwarded to parliament.[81] In 2012, the NDP declined to present a similar petition by another 911 Truth group to parliament.[81]

Controversial statements[edit]

Stance on abortion[edit]

The Green Party's policy is described as “pro-life, pro-choice”, confirming support for legal safe abortions, while also finding ways to support women who find themselves facing economic hardship and wanting to have a child. According to Green Vision 2010, Green Party MPs will "oppose any possible government move to diminish the right of a woman to a safe, legal abortion. We fully support a woman's right to choose. We will also expand programs in reproductive rights and education to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and expand supports for low-income mothers."[citation needed]

During a visit to the Mount St. Joseph's Convent in London, Ontario, May responded to a nun's question about abortion by explaining her personal position, which included the statement that "I don't think a woman has a frivolous right to choose."[83] May maintains that this comment was misinterpreted. Following reports of May's statements, prominent Canadian feminist Judy Rebick announced that she was withdrawing her previous support of May and the Green Party due to May's questioning "the most important victory of the women's movement of my generation".[84]

Responding to Rebick's open letter, May explicitly reaffirmed that she supported a woman's right to access a safe and legal abortion and that “I never said a woman's right to choose trivialized anything. Not ever.” May further wrote “Some feminist scholars have pointed out that the slogan 'right to choose' focuses on too narrow a context. What are a woman's real rights in society? Where are our economic rights? While a woman must have the right to terminate a pregnancy, what of the larger context? What about the on-going struggle to create a truly equal relationship of sexual equality that might (would) help avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place? What about the responsibility of both sexual partners to avoid unwanted pregnancy (and while on the topic, to avoid sexually transmitted diseases that would be reduced through use of condoms)? I believe that respectful dialogue is possible even around such an emotionally charged issue as this. Not every opponent of legal abortions is unthinking. Neither is every supporter of legal abortion unwilling to acknowledge the moral complexity of the issue. Some common ground could be found, I believe, when the discussion shifts to a broader context”.[85]

Chamberlain analogy[edit]

In April 2007, during a speech by May to a London, Ontario United Church of Canada, she quoted British author George Monbiot stating, in reference to climate policy, that "In the eyes of history, John Howard, George Bush, and Stephen Harper will be judged more culpable than Neville Chamberlain."[86] The statement drew criticism from the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Conservative Party. While Opposition leader Stéphane Dion refused to respond to Harper's request for him to distance himself from May and these remarks during Question Period, Dion did state to reporters outside Commons that May should withdraw the remarks, and that the Nazi regime is beyond any comparison.[87]

In a Green Party of Canada press release May stated that she was referencing comments made by journalist George Monbiot a few days earlier at the Toronto Green Living Show[88] saying that he "echoed the views of many people around the world when he expressed his deep distress at Canada's abdication of responsibility in the current climate crisis. As a failure of leadership and moral courage, he compared it to the appeasement efforts of Neville Chamberlain. I made reference to Mr. Monbiot's statement to highlight the damage being done to Canada's international reputation, something that should concern all Canadians."[89][90] Both Prince Charles and a former British Labour foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, are on record having made similar analogies.[91]

The reaction to May's comments led to a Macleans.ca story[92] recounting several instances of politicians on record using Chamberlain analogies, including NDP leader Jack Layton, Liberal MP Robert Thibault and Conservative MP Peter MacKay.[93]

Personal life[edit]

May lives in Sidney, British Columbia with her daughter, Victoria Cate May Burton (born 1991). She is studying theology at Saint Paul University, and describes herself as a practising Anglican.

She has indicated that her path towards becoming an ordained minister with the Anglican Church does not clash with her role in the Green Party of Canada, and sees a clear separation between religion and politics.[94]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2011: Saanich—Gulf Islands
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Green Elizabeth May 31,890 46.33 +35.88 $87,738
Conservative Gary Lunn 24,544 35.66 -7.77 $89,604
New Democratic Edith Loring-Kuhanga 8,185 11.89 +6.20 $66,273
Liberal Renée Hetherington 4,208 6.11 -33.25 $50,002
Total valid votes/Expense limit 68,827 100.0     $293,617
Total rejected ballots 160 0.23
Turnout 68,987 75.25
Eligible voters 91,673
Green gain from Conservative Swing +21.82
Central Nova - Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Peter MacKay 18,239 46.6 +6.54
Green Elizabeth May 12,620 32.2 +30.61
New Democratic Louise Lorifice 7,657 19.6 -4.96
Christian Heritage Michael Harris MacKay 427 1.1 Ø
Canadian Action Paul Kemp 196 0.5 Ø
Total valid votes 39,139

Canadian federal by-election, November 27, 2006: London North Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Glen Pearson 13,287 34.85% -5.27
Green Elizabeth May 9,864 25.87% +20.38
Conservative Dianne Haskett 9,309 24.42% -5.48
New Democratic Megan Walker 5,388 14.13% -9.62
Progressive Canadian Steven Hunter 145 0.38% -0.09
Independent Robert Ede 77 0.20%
Canadian Action Will Arlow 53 0.14%
Total 38,123 100.00%
Called as a result of Mr. Fontana's resignation on 20 September 2006.
Cape Breton Highlands—Canso federal election, 1980
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Allan J. MacEachen 18,262 50.40% +2.30%
Progressive Conservative Bill Kelly 12,799 35.32% -3.44%
New Democratic William J. Woodfine 4,902 13.53% +0.39%
Independent Elizabeth May 272 0.75% *

Honours and awards[edit]

  • International Conservation Award from Friends of Nature, 1985
  • Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, in recognition of significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada, 1992
  • Elizabeth May Chair in Women’s Health and the Environment, Dalhousie University, 1998.[32]
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters (DHumL), Mount Saint Vincent University, 2000.
  • Harkin Award from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society for her lifetime achievement in promoting the protection of Canada’s wilderness, 2002
  • Best Activist Award, Coast Magazine, Best of Halifax Readers’ Poll, 2002
  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University of New Brunswick, 2003.[95]
  • United Nations Global 500 award.[96]
  • Officer of the Order of Canada, 2005.
  • Couchiching Award for Excellence in Public Policy, 2006
  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Mount Allison University, 2007.[97]
  • Newsweek Magazine: One of World's Most Influential women, November 28, 2010[98]
  • Maclean's Parliamentarian of the Year, 2012 [99]
  • Maclean's Hardest Working Parliamentarian of the Year, 2013 [100]

Selected works[edit]

  • Budworm battles: the fight to stop the aerial insecticide spraying of the forests of eastern Canada (with Richard E.L. Rogers). 1982. Four East Publications. ISBN 0-9690041-5-X
  • Paradise Won: the struggle for South Moresby. 1990. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-5772-5
  • Frederick Street: life and death on Canada's Love Canal (with Maude Barlow). 2000. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-00-200036-9
  • At the cutting edge: the crisis in Canada's forests. 2005. Key Porter Books. ISBN 1-55263-645-3
  • How to Save the World in Your Spare Time. 2006. Key Porter Books. ISBN 1-55263-781-6
  • Global Warming for Dummies (with Zoe Caron). 2008. Wiley & Sons Publishing. ISBN 0-470-84098-6
  • Losing Confidence: Power, Politics And The Crisis In Canadian Democracy. 2009. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-5760-1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.greenparty.ca/en/elizabeth/elizabeth-mays-biography.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Taber, Jane (2011-08-05). "Elizabeth May is busy penning texts and defending Nycole Turmel - The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
  3. ^ "Elizabeth May Biography" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  4. ^ "Feb. 14: No brain is an island, and other letters to the editor". The Globe and Mail. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.  (see letter "Acts of Renunciation")
  5. ^ Maclean's magazine, 2010-01-18, pg. 11
  6. ^ Ottawa, The (2007-03-16). "May ponders battle with Baird". Canada.com. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  7. ^ a b Hunter, Justine (2011-05-03). "Elizabeth May wins first seat for Greens". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2011-05-08. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  8. ^ "Elizabeth May defeats Gary Lunn". Ctv.ca. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  9. ^ Curry, Bill (2008-09-08). "On the Train: A Q&A with Elizabeth May". Toronto, Ontario: globeandmail.com 
  10. ^ "Elizabeth May Profile". London, Ontario: London Free Press. 2006-08-27. p. A8  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  11. ^ a b http://articles.courant.com/2003-08-26/news/0308251528_1_nova-scotia-margaree-harbour-professional-pianist
  12. ^ Curry, Bill (2008-09-08). "On the Train: A Q&A with Elizabeth May". Toronto, Ontario: globeandmail.com 
  13. ^ a b "Elizabeth May Profile". London, Ontario: London Free Press. 2006-08-27. p. A8  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  14. ^ a b "Elizabeth May biography". Green Party of Canada. 2008 
  15. ^ Taber, Jane (2011-09-15). "Elizabeth May remembers the first man to ever send her flowers". Ottawa Notebook (Toronto: The Globe and Mail). Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  16. ^ Callwood, June (1986-03-12). "Young lawyer's resolve honed by bitter environmental fight". Toronto, Ontario: The Globe and Mail. p. A2 
  17. ^ Wooden Boat magazine, article by Martin Haase, 2002
  18. ^ E. May, Budworm Battles, Four East books: Tantallon NS, 1981
  19. ^ Chatelaine, 1983 profile of Elizabeth May
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  23. ^ Described inSubversive Elements, by Donna Smythe
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  49. ^ May vs. MacKay. See also May tilts at wrong political windmill
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  60. ^ Frankly, I thought the best debater of the night was Ms. May – Craig Oliver, CTV National News [2]
  61. ^ "May was fearless and articulate, daring to lecture a notoriously testy prime minister on Iraq, climate change and pretty well everything else on the table" by Susan Riley, The Ottawa Citizen [3]
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  72. ^ As a matter of Canadian Constitutional law the Privy Council and the 28th Canadian Ministry are not legally one and the same. In fact, they are separate and distinct constitutional entities, in that the former body act in Council with the Queen or Viceroy, and the latter are the partisan Ministers of the Crown. However, there is no incentive for the two bodies to become adverse in political action.
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  74. ^ As a matter of Constitutional convention, however, the specific matters discussed in such meetings are privileged from public disclosure.
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